Hong Kong authorities are planning to introduce new laws which will require all students to learn China’s national anthem, and punish anyone who insults it with up to three years in prison.
The proposals, which were released on Friday, also call for anyone who is present when the song, March of The Volunteers, is played to “stand and deport themselves respectfully.”
The anthem the subject of controversy in the city. Football fans have repeatedly booed it at matches, resulting in warnings and fines from organisers.
International Christian School student Ngai Yeung, 16, says she rarely hears the anthem playing if she doesn’t watch TVB news. She thinks students should be allowed to make up their own minds about the both anthem and the central government. “In a democracy, schools should teach students how to think, not what to think,” she says.
Marcus Kwan, 17, from Munsang College, says that respect for the anthem “should be earned, not forced”.
Angelina Wang, 16, of Chinese International School anticipates that the law is going to receive some backlash, but she believes it’ll be a positive change in the end. “Nowadays we tend to be quite cynical, and there’s something to be said for something as unifying as the whole of one nation knowing one song all together.”